- S’Africa has two
Cost, location and career prospects are all key considerations for would-be students choosing a university.
But reputation plays an important role, too.
The annual World University Rankings, released by Times Higher Education (THE) on Wednesday, analysed more than 1,300 institutions around the world.
Considered the most comprehensive global ranking, it uses 13 “performance indicators” to judge institutions’ excellence in teaching, research, income and international outlook.
There was no change at the top this year, where European and North American universities continue to dominate.
The hallowed University of Oxford took the top spot for the fourth year in a row, with its traditional rival the University of Cambridge dropping to third place behind the California Institute of Technology.
Switzerland was the only country outside the United Kingdom and North America to break into the top 20, with the ETH Zurich coming in joint 13th place.
Regionally, Europe had the most top-ranking universities in the top 200, accounting for just under half, while the United States was the country with most institutions in the top 200, a total of 60.
Ellie Bothwell, THE’s rankings editor, said that while Europe continued to perform “extremely well” and attract academics from around the world, there could be challenges ahead.
“Europe must overcome serious hurdles if it is to maintain its strong position in future global rankings. Economic stagnation and increasingly isolationist political tendencies both threaten the positions of European institutions at a time when international cooperation and investment is key,” Bothwell said in a statement.
Seven territories included in the analysis for the first time were Bangladesh, Brunei, Cuba, Malta, Montenegro, Puerto Rico and Vietnam, reports al-Jazeera.
Iran was one of the biggest overall climbers, overtaking France and Australia with 40 universities included.
None made it into the top 200, however, with Israel’s Tel Aviv University providing the Middle East’s sole entrant at joint 189th place.
Africa was represented in the top 200 by two South African institutions: the University of Cape Town and the University of Witwatersrand, while Latin America was notable for its absence. Brazil’s University of Sao Paulo is the region’s highest-ranked institution, placing in the 251-300 band.
Asia is the only region posing a serious threat to Anglo-American dominance in the rankings, now in their 16th year.
China has grown to be the fourth-most-represented country in the world, while Japan has consolidated its position as the second, though it lags behind countries such as Denmark and Belgium in terms of top-200 representation.
“It has long been clear that the emerging countries of Asia are going to play an increasingly powerful role among the global elite of higher education,” Phil Baty, THE Chief Knowledge Officer, said in a statement.
“Future editions of the World University Rankings will most likely reveal intense competition, and while European and American institutions face significant hurdles, Chinese and other Asian universities have challenges of their own they must meet.
“These include ensuring that the excellent academics they produce do not move abroad to more established institutions in Europe and North America; promoting a culture of scholarly creativity and freedom; [and] boosting ties with nations across the globe”.
Our ordeal: FUOYE students recount losses
- Gov’s wife: I didn’t instruct security officers to shoot at students
- VC: We’ve proscribed students’ unionism indefinitely
Students of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) in Ekiti State, are still licking their wounds following the protest that rocked the institution and its host community over lack of electricity supply, as no fewer than two students lost their lives
“Our ordeal during the protest that rocked the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) and its host communities, two weeks ago, is better imagined than experienced. It was black day when terror and tragedy visited the university and its communities. No one would have thought that the peaceful protest would lead to the death of two students.
“It all started as a peaceful demonstration by the students against lack of electricity supply to our university and the communities, before it was hijacked by hoodlums. Now, that the university has been shut down indefinitely, the second semester examinations that supposed to begin next month will be rescheduled, and this will automatically prolong the academic calendar.”
With these words, the students of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) in Ekiti State, which was shut down indefinitely, two weeks ago following a violent protest against persistent lack of electricity supply to their campuses and the host communities of Oye and Ikole-Ekiti, recounted their plight.
Recounting their losses, the students, however, described Tuesday, September 10, as a terrible day for the federal institution which lost two students at a sweep and many others injured.
Two weeks ago, the university students had trooped out early on that fateful day, barricading all roads leading to the town in protest against lack of electricity supply to their campus.
The protest, which was said to have been a peaceful protest, completely shut down economic activities and disrupted vehicular movements to and from Oye community.
The students, who for the umpteenth time was said to have expressed displeasure over persistent darkness in the institution, blamed the government and management of the university, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kayode Soremekun for being insensitive to their plight.
The university since inception few years ago, the students lamented, had not experienced electricity supply, while the institution’s other host communities including Ijan-Ekiti and Agbado-Ekiti had also been confronted with irregular electricity supply.
The students, New Telegraph learnt, who had on several occasions called the Federal Government to prevail on the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), which is responsible for electricity supply to Ekiti State and the communities to address the problem of incessant power outage to Oye and Ikole campuses, decided to take their destiny in their hand.
Meanwhile, the students had a month ago, protested over similar problem, but despite their protests and persistent call, there was no deliberate commitment on the part of the management of the institution and government to ensure electricity supply to the campuses.
Irked by what they called unyielding posture of the government and management, the students, however, vowed to sustain their protest until their plight was addressed.
According to them, the insensitivity and continued lack of commitment on the part of the university authorities and Federal Government to tackle the electricity problem facing the institution had instigated the agitations.
Eventually, the students, during the protest were alleged to have clashed with the convoy of the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi, who was in the community as part of her advocacy and empowerment tour of the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
As part of the advocacy visit, on Monday, September 9, Mrs. Fayemi visited Moba, Ilejemeje and Oye Local Government Areas on advocacy programme, but as the event was on going, the protesting students were alleged to have stormed the venue apparently to lodge complaints and express their plight to the wife of the governor.
This, the students recounted, led to the clash between the security men in Mrs. Fayemi’s convoy, who it was claimed had earlier advised the students to allow the programme to run through before she would address them.
Meanwhile, at this point it was alleged that the protest was hijacked by hoodlums, who lashed on the situation to attack the police men, which resulted to vandalization of vehicles in the convoy.
Specifically, this, according to the students enraged the police, who were accused of shooting live bullets into the protesting students which killed two students.
The students had, therefore, accused Mrs. Fayemi of instructing police officers in her convoy to shoot the protesting students.
But, Mrs. Fayemi had since denied that her presence led to the death and injury of students in Oye community and that she never instructed the police officers to shoot at the protesting students.
She had said: “The LGAs tour commenced on Monday, September 9, with visits to two local government areas which were hugely successful and peaceful. On September 10, we were billed to visit three local government areas of Moba, Ilejemeje and Oye. But, while we were at Ilejemeje, we received a call from our advance security team that students of the Federal University of Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) were protesting lack of electricity in Oye town. We were told that more information would be provided on the situation. Shortly after we received another call that the students had dispersed and the coast was clear for my visit. When my convoy got to the Oye-Isan Junction, we were met by a convoy of excited Okada riders, who led us into the community. There was no sign of any trouble. We proceeded to the venue of my town hall meeting at the civic centre with some women in Oye Local Government.
“The students of FUOYE and possibly infiltrated by local thugs had re-grouped and were trying to get into the venue. The security officers prevented this from happening. We finished our programme, and by the time we got outside, we found that vehicles in my convoy and those of my guests parked outside the venue had been vandalised. As we were driving out of Oye town, we encountered at least two road blocks the students mounted to prevent the movement of vehicles. I could only see students/thugs throwing stones and large sticks at us as we drove by.
“However, the casualties that were recorded did not take place while I was there. There are eye-witnesses,photographs and video footage to confirm this. I am scandalised and shocked beyond words to hear that I instructed security officers to shoot at students.”
The two students that died during the protest were Okonofua Joseph, an undergraduate of Biology Education and Dada Kehinde Abiodun, a Part I student at the Department of Crop Science and Horticulture, while several other students sustained injuries.
Piqued by the death of their colleagues, the students had accused security agents of shooting and killing their colleagues, as well as the police of invading the students’ hostels off campus, where they arrested several students and injured many in the process.
Meanwhile, some of the students, who spoke with New Telegraph, recalled: “In the process of dispersing the protesting students the policemen shot live bullets into their midst. There is no justification for the police to shoot live bullets to quell a riot. This is cruelty and recklessness.”
Consequently, the university students’ union had in a statement issued and jointly signed by the President, Awodola Samuel; the General Secretary, Ilyas Mohammed and the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Omofoye Adetola respectively expressed their plight to the government and well-meaning Nigerians for urgent intervention.
In their reaction to the allegation of killing by the police, the state Police Command through the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Caleb Nwachukwu, in a telephone interview, dismissed the allegations of shooting and killing of the students, saying: “It is not true that our men went into the students’ private hostels off campus to arrest or maim the students. These are blatant lies. Please.”
Also, in a statement issued by the state Police Command, Ikechukwu further explained that the protesting students blocked the Ifaki-Ikole-Omuo Highway and prevented free-flow of vehicles and movement of the people.
The protesting students, he added, did not allow vehicles to move freely and they invaded the Oye-Ekiti office of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, where they vandalised the property of company.
He said: “When the police went there to dialogue with the students, they resisted any appeal. And, unfortunately the wife of the governor who went on local government tour ran into the barricade mounted on the road by the students.
According to the police spokesman, the students, who were reported to have gone berserk and violent during the protest, damaged several vehicles by smashing their windscreens.
The police added: “We want to warn the students that the Command would not tolerate any form or act of hooliganism under any guise in the state. And, we want to assure the public that the police are on top of the situation and the people must go about their normal business activities.
“The Nigeria Police Force, Ekiti State Command is using this medium to debunk the story making rounds on social media that the police shot at protesting students of the Federal University Oye-Ekiti.”
The police, it was also gathered had on Thursday, September 13, announced the arrest of two students of the university in connection with the bloody protest, even as the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Asuquo Amba, said two of his men were injured, while two police vans were burnt during the attack.
“Two persons have been arrested and one of them had confessed to commit the crime,” the CP said, condemning the attacks on the police while undertaking their statutory duties.
“We won’t rest until the perpetrators of this dastardly attack are arrested and brought to justice,” Amba insisted, saying that the two rifles stolen from the police during the crisis had been retrieved.
To forestall further break down of law and order, the authorities of the university had shut down the institution indefinitely and ordered the students to vacate the campuses with immediate effect, even as Vice-Chancellor in a statement also announced the proscription of the students’ union and banned all forms of unionism in the institution.
Soremekun said:” We hereby announce the immediate and indefinite closure of the university to forestall further breakdown of law and order. In the same vein, the students’ union is forthwith disbanded indefinitely. And the students are hereby ordered to vacate the university premises no later than 10a.m.
This was as the government set up a 12-man committee to probe the attack on the convoy of the governor’s wife by students of the university, while protesting poor electricity supply to their campus.
Soremekun, who disclosed this, said the committee would find out the circumstances surrounding the protest and the attack on her convoy.
The committee is headed by a Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abayomi Fasina, while Mrs. Blessing Eyiorunpe would be the Secretary.
Now, the students are appealing to the government to speed action on the reports and recommendations of the panel and urged it to unravel the immediate and remote causes with a view to preventing such occurrences in future.
Reacting to the crisis, the state government in a statement by the Information Commissioner, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, however, acknowledged the fact that the protest might have started as a peaceful protest, but hinted that it was escalated to violence, possibly due to infiltration by hoodlums, who attacked the convoy of the wife of the governor damaging several vehicles.
He said: “As a responsible government, it is on record that the state government has been engaging the electricity company (BEDC) on how to improve the power situation in parts of the state before this unfortunate incident, and promised to continue to engage them on the improvement of their service delivery to the state.
Postgraduate vital to nation’s manpower development – Dean
A Professor of Educational Management and Dean Postgraduate School, Lead City University, Ibadan, Afolakemi Oredein, in this interview, with BIYI ADEGOROYE speaks about university education, the significance of the postgraduate programmes to national development, especially, the contribution of private university system.
What is the philosophy behind postgraduate programmes in the university system for the nation?
The philosophy is to build manpower for the industry and overall growth of the nation. More so, nowadays that, most organisations demand for additional or higher academic and professional degrees from applicants’ entry into the industry or even public service. And again, it is for those seeking lecturing appointments in the universities and other tertiary institutions. Also, it is a must indeed with reference to the education sector, the National Universities Commission (NUC) benchmark for anyone, who aspires to take up lecturing job in the university is a doctoral degree in the respective disciplines.
Moreover, those who graduated with First Class grade from the university should be absorbed into the system as Graduate Assistant to be trained, mentored and gradually grow into the system. Applicants for academic careers are expected to possess PhD degree.
As the Dean of Postgraduate School, what is your impression about postgraduate programmes in the country and what would you say makes the programme unique in this university?
Generally, as a nation, I feel that we are doing well, but we need to do more. The postgraduate programmes at Lead City University, are very unique in the sense that we do not delay our students and we do not engage in unnecessary bureaucracy. We have qualified personnel on ground to assess the students, give necessary advice and offer admission into the right programme based on their qualifications and career objectives.
We also conform to NUC’s requirements for postgraduate programmes in all ramifications. If a programme is designed to run for three semesters, we ensure that the students round off accordingly. The only thing that could cause delay is when the student is not serious with his or her studies. We ensure that everything is in place to enable students to complete their programmes as at when due. Also, there is nothing like harassment in any form, no coercion to buy handouts or lecturers’ books. We are student-friendly as we have a one-on-one relationship, operating an open door policy whereby lecturers are approachable and the students can relate with them at any time, even to the level of Heads of Departments, Deans and the Vice-Chancellor. Students do not in any way feel intimidated. The university library is well-equipped, stocked with recent books and journals with unfettered access to electronic resources.
One issue that has been noticed is that of plagiarism among some postgraduate students. How has the university been checking this and what are the parameters for assessing postgraduate thesis?
With regard to the thesis assessment in this institution, the standard is very high and student’s thesis goes through a very stringent process. The process starts with the supervisor as the promoter, guiding the student on topics for dissertation. It is, thereafter, sent for approval of the departmental Post Graduate (PG) Board, from where it goes to the Faculty PG Board for further approval, after which it is forwarded to the Postgraduate School.
Of course, by the end of second semester, the student should have a supervisor in which he or she commences working so that during the third semester, he would have done the pre-field and post-field at the end of which a copy of the thesis is forwarded to Faculty PG Board. Thereafter, it would be sent to the PG School where a committee will look at the thesis to ensure whether it is in line with the university’s approved format.
After it has been approved, the student can now proceed for viva. In this regard, our format, especially in referencing, is the Turabian referencing style. We believe that this, to a large extent, helps to curb plagiarism. We also emphasised recency of sources being utilized because a new thesis should contain among others, materials less than five years old. In other words, as we are in 2019, 70 per cent of citation by a student should be after 2015. Otherwise, it could be an old work being represented. After the post-field, the abstract has to be accepted at the department and the faculty before its registration at the Postgraduate School.
Specifically, it is our policy to use the turn-it-in app in our effort to curb plagiarism. After that, the committee of assessors will confirm its conformity with scholarly and university’s format and the thesis will be returned to the department for the student to effect the corrections. Otherwise, the thesis will be stepped down because of failure to conform to the set standards. We are very meticulous in that area.
To what extent is your Postgraduate relevant in terms of publication in local and international journals?
Well, before a doctoral student could graduate, the PG School must ascertain that both the supervisor and supervisee have published at least an article from the materials in the thesis in a scholarly journal. Another thing that makes the university unique is that there is no direct entry into the our PhD programme, as a student has to spend the first year in the MPhil Class to prove himself because we do not want to have doctoral candidates in view forever.
Given the fact that private universities were set up to cater for the shortfall in students’ enrolment, in your views have they met this need?
The government policy in that direction is noble, but unfortunately it has failed. However, the situation is reversible. To begin with, the students that attend public universities do not pay tuition fees by themselves in the sense that government pays for them in full. The federal and state government-owned universities are subsidised heavily by government to relieve parents from the burden of tuition fees.
However, when it comes to the private universities, there is no assistance for the students or the parents because students have to pay their fees in full. Of course, this is discrimination. After all, they are all Nigerian children or citizens and why should government give help to some and refuse help to others just because of differences in the ownership of the universities they are attending. That is why the public universities remain overcrowded while the private ones are practically under subscribed.
In that sense, the government policy to utilize the establishment of private universities to support its objectives in providing tertiary education for all qualified Nigerians has failed.
Also for your information, fees stipulated for each academic programme which reflects subvention given by government to its universities per head of student is far higher than what most private universities charge as fees. Yet, they try to muddle through. Indeed, I can tell you that fees in many private secondary schools in the country are higher than what students pay here at the Lead City University. There are some programmes here where students pay as low as N190,000 per session. The Federal Government should appreciate private universities for their tremendous contribution to national manpower development by giving them greater support in the form of scholarships to students applying to private universities just as they give to students applying into federal and state government-owned universities. TETFund can provide such scholarships.
The manpower being produced in both places are to meet national development needs. We are all committed to building the same Nigeria because the products of private universities are going to work in the country. In a way, private universities also contribute to provision of employment for the army of the unemployed in the country. Private universities are not asking for TETFund to fund their infrastructure, but to fund scholarship for Nigerians applying to private universities as it is being done for those in government-owned universities. Likewise, lecturers from public universities come to private universities to teach and vice-versa. And, since all these lecturers are serving in the same Nigerian university system, those from private universities should also have access to TETFund grants for their research and graduate studies.
According to former NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Peter Okebukola, private universities are contributors to “high-level human resource development, train persons with better values and represent a model of university governance in observance of due process, accountability and discipline. They also mostly have a Board of Trustees as an additional layer for accountability. The institutions model financial autonomy as they sink or swim from the income from ventures and other sources that supplement tuition. Discipline is the language in private universities for both staff and students while they are adventurous in exploring new courses that go beyond the NUC’s Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS).
In this regard, I can assure you the sky is our beginning at the Lead City University, provided we are given opportunity to train more Nigerians and it is left to the government to assist those without the resources to be able to come into our system to do so rather than struggling for admissions in already overcrowded federal and state universities.
Bequest School holds valedictory, tasks parents to monitor wards’ activities
Owners of Glorious Bequest College, Apapa, Lagos have advised parents and guardians to monitor their children and wards’ activities in school, as well as check their work regularly in order to ensure that they are punctual and regular in school.
This advised was given by the Proprietor/Managing Director of the school, Pastor Wilson Akpughe during the ninth graduation/valedictory service of the school.
The Proprietor praised the parents for their efforts at ensuring that the school attains its loftier vision of providing qualitative education and proper upbringing of the children.
Dignitaries at the event were thrilled by the students with various presentations such as songs ministration, Taekwondo, the ballet, science exhibition, Yoruba cultural display, spelling bee and French presentation, as well as parent dancing competition, among others.
Akpughe, who further expressed the readiness of the schools to sustain high standard, congratulated the graduating students, and the parents for giving their children qualitative education.
“However, we still need to work harder to maintain the standard and also to improve on our achievements. In this regards, we solicit the cooperation of parents since the school cannot do it alone,” he noted.
He hinted that the school authority had been able to meet the financial requirements for the running the school, in terms of prompt and regular payment of teachers’ salary, which served as a source of motivation for them and to propel them to work harder with greater commitment for effective and efficient results.
He said the school was able to achieve this far as a result of adequate facilities and equipment provided, which include well-equipped science laboratories, computer laboratory, library, and other teaching and learning facilities.
Also, he challenged the students to take full advantage of the facilities and the conducive environment, as the school prepares candidates for BECE, SSCE and UTME.
Akpughe, therefore, admonished the students to be good ambassadors of their alma mater wherever they may be, saying: “Today, we are graduating our students for 2018/2019 academic session. The event is to celebrate the students by recognising their efforts and to showcase their ability and skills.”
Established over 10 years ago, the proprietor said the group of schools, comprising Kindergarten (KG), nursery, primary and college, were founded on a solid rock to re-engineer the nation’s education with a view to enhancing better performance of the students.
On the laudable achievements of the school, Akpughe added: “I am happy to announce to you that it has been observed that both the school authority and the students as an institution have lived up to the expectation of the name of the school, Glorious Bequest College. Just as the name implies, there is a high level of glorious performance by both the school and our students in our collective quest for quality education.”
The schools, according to him, which has outstanding academic track record of qualitative education delivery, provided in a conducive learning environment, trains the children in good moral upbringing with the fear of God.
He said the school could boast of competent, seasoned, caring and qualified teachers, who are dedicated and committed to the all-round development of the children, while it also offered extended class and after school services.
On the state-of-the-art facilities in the schools, the Proprietor hinted that the classroom environment is spacious, well ventilated and highly conducive for effective teaching and learning, saying these have been properly utilised by the teachers to impact meaningfully on the children.
The Proprietor added: “The performance of our students in Glorious Bequest College has been outstanding both in academic and extra-curricular activities, due to the conducive environment put in place to enhance teaching and learning process. Our students have won laurels for the school in several competitions.
“There is a remarkable improvement in the performance of our students over the years due to the conducive environment, facilities, balanced curriculum, commitment of our teachers, as well as cooperation and support we enjoy from our parents.”
LASPOTECH secures 100% NBTE accreditation
The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the agency supervising polytechnic and monotechnic education in the country, has accredited 66 academic programmes presented by Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu, Lagos for accreditation.
The polytechnic, according to the official release on the recently conducted accreditation visitation to the institution by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) team, scored 100 per cent in all academic programmes run by the institution.
The accreditation exercise and approval, a statement by the Deputy Registrar, Information & Public Relations for the polytechnic, Mr. Olanrewaju Kuye, noted include institutional accreditation and covered all the Schools in the polytechnic.
These are the School of Engineering, Technology, Environmental Studies, Agricultural Technology, Management and Business Studies, Pure and Applied Sciences, Communication and Liberal Studies and the School of Technology for which the institution could admit students from the 2019/2020 academic session.
With the accreditation, the School of Agriculture has approval to offer course in Agricultural Extension and Management, Animal Production Technology, Crop Production Technology, and Fisheries Technology; while School of Communication and Liberal Studies will run programmes in Mass Communication with Options in Broadcast and Print.
For School of Technology the polytechnic has approval to run courses in Computer Science Technology, Food Technology and Hospitality Management Technology; while in the School of Engineering, the institution would offer programmes in Agricultural and Bio-Environmental Engineering Technology (with options in Farm Power and Machinery Engineering, Soil and Water Engineering, Post-Harvest Engineering), Chemical Engineering Technology, Civil Engineering Technology, Computer Engineering Technology, Electrical/Electronics Engineering Technology (with options in Electronics & Telecommunications, Electrical Power & Machines, Mechanical Engineering Technology (with options in Manufacturing Power and Plant and Automotive.
In a related development, the polytechnic Taekwondo Team has emerged overall third position at the recently concluded Fifth Collegiate Taekwondo Championship (COTACH), held between September 12 and 14, at the Indoor Basketball Court, PHE Building, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
The competition tagged “Ultimate Gladiator, Victor Ludorum,” which featured 221 athletes from 30 tertiary institutions across the federation, offered the opportunity for other 20 Taekwondo Training Clubs all over West Africa to compete with tertiary institutions, including universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, as well as colleges of science and technology.
The Chairman, Sports and Games Committee of the polytechnic, Mr. Makanju Adeleye noted that the team won a total of two Gold, seven Silver and three Bronze medals.
The Rector, Mr. Samuel O. Sogunro, however, commended the athletes for recording another history among all tertiary institutions in West Africa, promising that they would be remunerated in appreciation of their excellent performance and for doing the polytechnic proud.
Group distributes school materials to indigent children in Lagos
Lack of writing and other school materials, including back to school bags confronting some indigent students and pupils of Eko Atete Street in Obalende, a high brow of Lagos, is now a thing of the past.
This is as no fewer than 100 indigent pupils and students in the area have benefitted from the writing and school bags distributed to them by the Chief Executive Officer of Hustlersquare, a Business Blogger, Lily Odior-Diyemowei.
The back to school bags, which contained reading materials and notebooks, as well as other writing materials, according to her, were given out as part of move to enable the beneficiaries to attend classes and study without tears as schools resumed for a new academic year.
Speaking at the event, attended by parents and teachers, Odior-Diyemowei, said they were propelled to reach out to the indigent students in view of their challenges because “every child deserves to be educated.”
She noted: “Every child irrespective of their socio-economic background deserves to have the basic materials they need to comfortably go to school without hardship or stress. It is on the basis of this that I decided to contribute my quota to make the world a better place for the children by assisting them in their education.”
According to her, members of Jaggy Nations in conjunction with the Just Enough, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) were moved by the plight and needs of the children and their parents in the face of current economic hardship.
One of the parents of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Philomena Bassey, however, commended the group for what she described as “their wonderful works,” stating that she made this statement with a great joy because the gifts were timely and met the needs of the children, who are very excited by the items.
As part of its humanitarian gesture, the group, last year, fed and clothed about 1,000 children, including beggars, physically and challenged persons under its ‘Feed a Child Today’ programme, which took place at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp at Abeokuta Street in Ebute Meta, Lagos.
Odior-Diyemowei said: “A lot of children are going through hardship. I feel bad about this because they were not asked to be born. Ironically, those in authorities pay little or no attention to the future of our children. We all can do better by helping the indigent children in our environment.”
Harmonising conviction and conduct
Between August 23 and 29, 2019, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in conjunction with Peace Building Development Consult organised a Leadership Course in Preventive Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (LCPDCR) at NOA Headquarters, Abuja. Being one of the Resource Persons, my presentation centred on “Religion: Trust, Peace and Social Relations” in which I examined the implications of religion for harmonising Nigerians especially and humanity at large.
That religion is one of the problems of Nigeria is a common myth that is well believed by many Nigerians, including the supposedly educated. Yet, there is nothing in the essence of religion, which originates from a Latin word that means “obligation, bond” or a sense of “bond between human beings and the gods”, that connotes negativity.
If Merriam Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines religion as “the personal commitment to and serving of God or a god with worshipful devotion, conduct in accord with divine commands especially as found in accepted sacred writings or declared by authoritative teachers; a way of life recognized as incumbent on true believers, and typically the relating of oneself to an organized body of believers”, it goes without saying that man needs religion because by nature, he is a religious animal, not just a political one as postulated by Aristotle.
Admittedly, there is something sinister about the way religion is practised in Nigeria and it is irrefragable that Nigerians are the problem of religion, not the other way round. Even if the global ambivalence towards religion is atomised, politics is the problem, not religion in its essence. When politics permeates anything, it poisons it. It is the politicisation of religion by Nigeria, as a microcosm of the world that is the bane of our desired peace and harmonious development.
Religion is all about harmonising conviction and conduct while its fundamental teaching is doing good. A bad person cannot be religious and that is why the Golden Rule is a universal religious teaching found in many religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, African Traditional Religion, Confuscianism, Buddism, Hinduism, Taoism and Zoroastriantism. The extent to which the adherents of these religions practice the texts is another issue entirely.
In Jewish Talmud, for instance, it is recorded, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary” while in the Hindu Mahabharata, it is declared, “This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.” In its Udana-Varga, Buddism emphasises, “Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful” and in Christianity and Islam respectively, the dicta are “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “None of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”
Religion teaches the general social skill of empathy, which is understanding where people are coming from and treating their concerns the way one would treat one’s own. As Melanie Pinola states in her 2014 article on “Seven Important Lessons from World Religions you should Know”, apart from the Golden Rule, all religions emphasise that everyone should work for the happiness of others, especially the poor and the unfortunate; focus on the present (meaning, do the best you can now); aim for achievements, not money; interact with the community; take responsibility for your actions and know yourself or make up your own mind, the last of which suggests reflection.
As Nigerians are mainly Muslims and Christians, it is in the interest of all that politics be kept out of religion and we reconnect the disconnect between conviction and conduct. It is high time Nigerians allowed their behaviour and actions to be influenced by their pure religious beliefs so that social relations would be positive, peace would be engendered and mutual trust would be established among our diverse identities.
Religion is not the problem; people and politics are. There are seven cardinal Biblical virtues and about thirty virtues in Islam which are capable of making Nigerians role models for the rest of the world, if they allow the teachings to influence their practice. These virtues are chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility as well as righteousness, generosity, gratitude, contentment, courtesy, purity, respect, tolerance, justice, mercy, integrity, dignity, courage, hope, patience, perseverance, discipline, forgiveness, repentance, moderation, prudence, sincerity, responsibility, fairness, trustworthiness, honesty and faithfulness.
If those who claim the two religions allow the given virtues to direct and influence their conduct, there is no doubt that Nigerians will no longer be the problem of religion since as said earlier, the fundamental teaching of religion is to be good.
Parents, guardians bemoan cost of books, other school materials
As schools reopened for the new academic session, parents and other stakeholders, especially book sellers and other school materials, such as sandals, school bags (backpack), uniforms and food flasks, among others, are lamenting over the high school fees, high cost of materials and low patronage due low purchasing power of parents as a result of economic hardship in the country.
This is as several parents and guardians could not meet their children and wards’ school needs, which include books, sandals, school uniforms and bags, sock, food and water packs.
Investigations and market survey by New Telegraph revealed that prices of books and other school materials had increased.
For instance, a pair of school sandal now sells for between N1,500 and N3,500 depending on the type and the age of the children; while quality backpack or school bag goes for N4,000. A child’s lunch box costs N500 and above; water bottle (N2,500), while the price of school uniforms depends on the school, since most schools sell uniforms to their students.
Further findings indicated that this does not have a particular price range since most private schools input the cost of school uniform, as well as books and notebooks into their school fees.
Specifically, New General Mathematics for Junior Secondary School sells for N800; Basic Science (Longman) N700; Basic Technology (Longman) N700; Africa Civic (Learn Africa) N900; Africa Computer (Learn-Africa) N900; Religious and Natural Value (Cosmo) N1.500;
Business Studies N700; Christian Religious Studies N700; Agriculture (wapb) N700 and Home Economic (Elisabeth) costs N1,400.
For Senior Secondary School classes, New General Mathematics for Senior Secondary School now sells for N900; Essential English N1000; Project English N800; Essential Economics N1,000; Simified) N1,500; Physics (Essential) N1,000; New School N1,000; Chemistry (Essential) N1,000; Government N1,000; Data Processing (Hiit) N2,000; while Agriculture (Essential), Accounting (Essential), Geography (Essential), and Commence (Essential) sell for N1,000 each.
New Telegraph also discovered that the cost of textbooks and other school materials were higher than that of last years, a development which a book seller at Ojata, Lagos attributed to cost of production, high tariff on printing materials as complained by the publishers.
A parent, who has her child at De Young Comprehensive College, Ikorodu, Lagos, however, told New Telegraph that the school ranges from N35,000 per term for students in senior classes, while the junior school section charges N30,000.
Although, Mrs. Owolewa Paul, who has her child in one of the public schools in Lagos, said there was no difficulty in sending her children to school since they do not charge school fees in government schools, except money to buy school uniforms, textbooks, notebooks and other school materials for the children.
El-Rufa’i keeps promise, enrols son in public primary school
Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State on Monday enrolled his six-year-old child, Abubakar into primary one in Capital School Malali, Kaduna, a public school, in fulfilment of a promise he made in 2017.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that El-Rufa’i had in a state broadcast in December 2017, promised to enrol his child in a public school when he turns six years.
“The move is part of reforms to revamp public schools in the state to make them more competitive.
“We are determined to fix public education and raise their standards so that private education will become only a luxury.
“As we make progress, we will require our senior officials to enrol their children in public schools.
“And I will by personal example ensure that my son that will be six years of age in 2019 will be enrolled in a public school in Kaduna State, by God’s grace,” El-Rufa’i had said.
Briefing newsmen shortly after he enrolled the child, El-Rufa’i explained that it was a commitment that had been fulfilled.
“I made that commitment because I believe that it is only when all political leaders have their children in public schools that we will pay due attention to quality of public education.
“I went to a public school like this. In fact, the school I went to is not as good as this one, but here I am, because of the quality teaching I got.
“My intention is to ensure that all our public schools offer quality education, and so we are encouraging all our senior public servants to send their children to public schools.
“Once the public schools are improved to a point they are nearly as good or even better than private schools, no one will waste his money taking his child to private school,” he said.
Ummi El-Rufa’i, the mother of the child said: “I am glad that we are able to send a strong message to our leaders and the elites, that we need to start making things work from within our homes.
“By the time we start attending public hospitals and send our children to public schools, the system will get better. This is a very huge step.”
On his part, the little child said: “I am sad that I will miss my old school, my friends and my teachers. But I have to help my father keep his promise.”
LASU crisis deepens as varsity sacks 8 officials
There is disquiet at the Lagos State University (LASU) following the sacking of eight members of staff, comprising five lecturers and three non-academic staff by the management. ASUU, which is at loggerheads with the Vice-Chancellor, is insisting that the development is persecution and victimisation of its members
- Varsity: They’re sacked for misconduct
- Lecturers: We’re being persecuted
The face-off between lecturers of the Lagos State University (LASU), under their umbrella union, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the authorities of the state university last Thursday deepened following the sacking of five members of the union.
The dismissal of five lecturers and three members of non-teaching staff of the institution, last week, by the management, came when the dust raised by the sacking of two members of executive of the union – the Chairman, Dr. Isaac Oyewunmi and the Vice-Chairman, Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu respectively, – was yet to settle.
The two union leaders (Oyewunmi and Adeyemi-Suenu) were among the 15 members of staff that were sacked in 2017 by the university Governing Council, led by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Prof. Adebayo Ninalowo.
According to the university, Oyewunmi was sacked for allegedly demanding N50,000 each from seven students to process their results, while Adeyemi-Suenu, on the other hand, was dismissed for allegedly unilaterally altering the results of 12 students already advised to withdraw from the university by the Senate.
Their sack, which is currently being challenged in court, had resulted to a series of allegations and counter-allegations against the university management and the leadership of the university’s chapter of ASUU, who are accusing each other of wrong doings.
But, the university management, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, while reacting to the last week sack of the staff, had in a statement signed by the institution’s Coordinator, Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations, Mr. Ademola Adekoya, insisted that the five academic staff members and three non-teaching staff were fired for misconduct.
The statement released on Friday by the Centre, entitled: LASU Governing Council Approves Promotion of 11 New Professors, 14 Associate Professors; Five Academic and Three Non-Academic Staff Dismissed for Misconduct,” however, noted that the approval for the dismissal of the eight members of staff, comprising five academic and three non-academic staff was ratified by the Governing Council at its 122nd Statutory Meeting held on Thursday, September 12.
The statement further added: “The Lagos State University Governing Council at its 122nd Statutory Meeting held on September 12, 2019, considered the reports of the Joint Council/Senate Disciplinary Committee, and the Joint Council (Administrative and Technical Staff) Disciplinary Committee, respectively, and approved the dismissal of the affected staff members.”
The statement, therefore, listed the affected staff members to include Dr. Anthony Dansu, the Secretary of ASUU and a lecturer at the Department of Human Kinetics, Sports and Health Education, Faculty of Education.
According to Adekoya, every member of staff indicted has been given fair hearing by the appropriate disciplinary committees, because the university takes the rule of law as sacrosanct.
Meanwhile, the university has challenged the union leaders to produce laws authorising them to obtain confidential documents, saying “the peaceful atmosphere on the campus had ensured a stable academic calendar, and that the efforts of the new management to instill discipline and build a culture of sanity is being resisted by some individuals.”
He said: “The Joint Council/Senate (Academic) Disciplinary Committee and the Joint Council (Administrative and Technical Staff) Disciplinary Committee which heard the cases strictly followed all laid down procedures, and duly gave opportunity to the individuals involved to defend themselves. The Lagos State University is poised to continue to ensure quality assurance in its processes.”
Dansu, according to the report, was investigated on allegations of unauthorised removal, retention and dissemination or publication of official confidential documents and infractions arising from the interviews granted to online media platforms levelled against him, and found culpable.
This was as the Council noted that his actions constituted serious misconduct and he was therefore dismissed from the services of the university with immediate effect.
Also, in his case, the university hinted that Aboderin-Shonibare was investigated on allegations of being in possession of confidential documents – Assessor’s Report and Report of Appointments, Promotions and Disciplinary Committee of Council – for which the university found him culpable.
Meanwhile, based on the report, the Council said that her action constitutes serious misconduct, and thus she was therefore dismissed from the services of the university with immediate effect.
For Adeolu Oyeka, the university pointed out that he was investigated on allegations of unauthorised removal, retention and dissemination or publication of official confidential documents and infractions arising from the interviews granted to online media platforms levelled against him, and for which he was found culpable.
“Towards this end, the Council noted that his acts constitute serious misconduct, and he was therefore dismissed from the services of the university with immediate effect,” the statement further added.
The Council also dismissed Dr. Henry Olusegun Gbelee of the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Lagos State University College of Medicine, who was investigated on allegation of absence from duty without permission, and found culpable. Following his dismissal, Council directed that he should refund the sum of N1,635,715.50 to the university, being the salaries erroneously paid to him while on a six-month approved Leave of Absence from April 1 to September 30, 2016.
He was given the next two months to pay back, and for which failure to do this the university shall institute legal action against him to recover the amount.
Others, who were fired by the Council, are Mr. Kehinde Olakunle Coker, Department of Religions and Peace Studies, Faculty of Arts, who was sacked on allegations of sales of marks and receipt of financial inducement from students to pass two students of the Department of English levelled against him and for which he found culpable; Mr. Oladapo Shafih Akinyemi, a Pupil Engineer in the Works and Physical Planning Unit was also dismissed on allegation of abandonment of duty and which he was found culpable.
Similarly, Mrs. Alaba Mariam Odu, a lecturer at the Faculty of Science was found culpable and sacked on allegation of falsification of May/June 1990 and 1999 WAEC results, which Council insisted constitutes serious act of misconduct; while Mr. Wasiu Adewale Busari, a staff of the Security Unit, was fired on allegation of bribe to pervert the course of justice and false claims against the Vice-Chancellor.
Reacting to their sack in an interview with New Telegraph on Friday,Dansu, the Secretary of LASU-ASUU, said the action of the university authorities was a deliberate scheme to silence the only voice against the mismanagement and fraudulent activities of the leadership of the institution and to kill ASUU on LASU campus.
According to him, it will now be clear to the whole world that the dismissal of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the union in 2017 in similar circumstances, for which the union has been shouting is an orchestrated case of victimisation and deliberate action to kill the union in LASU, which is now becoming quite obvious.
The embattled union leader, who hinted that the national body of the union would take up the matter with the university, said: “The union at the national level will respond to our sack appropriately. It is a matter between the light and darkness; truth and falsehood. It is quite unfortunate that LASU with a motto that stands for the truth and service could resort to this nebulous action.”
He, however, blasted the management-led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun of double standard in this matter, saying the sacking of the union leaders was a calculated action to cover up the many illegalities and fraud that are going on in the university.
Dansu, therefore, added that the union and its members were facing persecution and victimisation from the Council and Vice-Chancellor for daring to raise question about the professorship of the Vice-Chancellor, saying: “We are being victimised by the authority for challenging the illegality in the promotion and professorship of the Vice-Chancellor.”
While reacting to the sacking of members of the union in LASU, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, told New Telegraph in a telephone interview that the union would appropriately wade in into the matter with serious concern.
Ogunyemi, who pledged the readiness of the national body of the union to step into the mater, said: “We are taken some steps already, but we are also still studying the situation and the whole development before ASUU makes a comprehensive response on the matter. We are still trying to gather some additional information. Indeed, we will respond at the appropriate time.”
Also explaining further, Dansu, who described their sack as a shock and mockery of justice, and insisted that though, it was expected, said about three weeks ago, the Lagos State House of Assembly summoned the two parties in the crisis (management and ASUU).
“It was a tripartite meeting of the union, the university and the House of Assembly,” he added, saying the objective or rationale behind the parley was to resolve all the contending issues between the management and the union.
During the intervention or meeting, the House of Assembly appealed that both parties should all “cease fire” and within the next one month the Vice-Chancellor should constitute a committee with the objective of resolving all the contending issues, and that after the one month we will see what is on ground.
But with their sack, he blamed the university, the one who broke the peace accord or cease fire, of not respecting and accepting the spirit of the resolution.
Dansu, who regretted the management’s plans to kill ASUU in LASU, however, said that there were reactionaries in the university working for the interest of the university management to promote the illegalities in the system by destroying the union and its members.
The embattled sacked lecturer, who pointed out that another approach to the matter was that the case was already in court, hinted that they went to court when the management wanted to carry out the sack in August 2018 to stop them from taking the action.
And the court, he said ruled in August that we (ASUU members) have immunity to do what we have done and that we cannot be tried under exigency of any local tribunal on those matters.
However, Dansu added that what the union’s lawyer asked the court to do was the judicial review of the position of the university, but now there are no issues to be reviewed because the issues are premature and therefore the two parties should go back to the university to resolve the matter following the constitution of the land.
He said: “Therefore, all what the university is doing is illegality. What the university is planning is the University of Ilorin model, but which after 19 years, the lecturers in the university are back to the ASUU fold. There are no two ASUU, as there is only on ASUU in the country. What we are seeing in LASU is the work of reactionaries loyal to the management.
“Like I said earlier, the management’s target is the union. Now, there is heavy security all over the campus, even the union secretariat, which they wanted to take over by force for their reactionaries.”
Meanwhile, the university has also announced that promotion of 377 members of staff, comprising 31 academic staff, 346 non-teaching staff as approved by the Governing Council.
The promotion, according to the statement, which was made available to New Telegraph, was approved at the 122nd statutory meeting of the university Governing Council on Thursday.
The statement further noted that of the 31 academic staff promoted, no fewer than 11 lecturers were promoted from Associate Professor to Professor; 14 Senior Lecturer to Associate Professor; five lecturers were elevated from Lecturer I to Senior Lecturer; and one Lecturer II to Lecturer I.
Also, in the senior non-academic staff category, 125 members of staff benefitted from the promotion exercise, while in the junior category, the university promoted 221 members of staff respectively.
Don harps on social studies as fulcrum of liberal education
A don and Professor of Political Science at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Femi Mimiko has stressed the importance of Social Studies as critical to socio-political development of the society, saying social studies scholarship is the fulcrum of liberal education.
The former Vice-Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA) in Ondo State, disclosed this in his keynote address at the 35th Annual National Conference of Social Studies Association of Nigeria, held at Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo.
The theme of the conference was: “Beyond Electoralism: Nation Building Pressures and Consolidation of Democracy in Nigeria: What has Social Studies got to do with it?”
In his paper, Mimiko regretted that Nigeria was currently locked in an existential struggle, the type that imposes special responsibilities on academics, including social studies scholars.
He said: “Intellectuals are defined by their commitment to scholarship, and willingness to follow through on research. Social Studies scholarship is the fulcrum of liberal education, and its preeminent scholars, students and members of the society must step into the arena of struggle for a new and functional democratic system that meets the aspirations of the people of Nigeria, and which is firmly on the path to consolidation,” he stressed.
According to him, adherents and preeminent students and scholars of social studies, under the Social Studies Association of Nigeria, must step into the arena of struggle for a new and functional democratic system that meets the aspirations of the people, and which is firmly on the path to consolidation.
He, however, insisted that the longer it takes for the country to come to terms with its political-economic realities, and work to emplace these critical, inclusive democratic tenets, the more dangerous the situation becomes for extant democratic experimentation, and indeed the overall stability of the state.
The don, who, therefore, reiterated the need for the restructuring of the country, as a purveyor to its development, further noted that the inability of Nigeria, over the years, to entrench democracy, on the basis of good governance and political structure that conforms to the country’s plural orientation is one key element in the development failure of the country.
The restructuring being advocated, according to him, would be the type that will move the country in the direction of federalism; the restructuring of extant federal system to make the polity attain the full measure of federalism.
This was as Mimiko explained that in specific terms, the concept of restructuring in the Nigerian context would mean a reworking of the governance structure of the country in a manner that gives more powers, autonomy, and control over resources to the sub-national or federating units, such that the latter acting individually or collaboratively, would be capable of autochthonous development within the context of a united Nigeria.
To proper situate the restructuring of the country, Mimiko said “there is the need to involve effective divestment of the central government in terms of the array of powers and resources it currently holds.”
noting that the bipartisan orientation of this pathway to national renewal had since been established, with the reports of the 2014 National Conference, administered under the People Democratic Party (PDP) government.
He added: “If democratic consolidation is about irreversibility of democracy, it is evident that what passes for democracy in Nigeria still requires to be scaled up, as a critical first step toward its consolidation.
However, the don listed the factors that undermined democracy and the possibilities of its consolidation in Nigeria, which need to be dealt with to include, but not limited to dysfunctional governance structure; neo-colonialism, marginally productivity, and non-inclusive economy; mass illiteracy; and deepening poverty.
Other factors, according to him, are the prevalent patterns of illiberal political culture, especially as exhibited by members of the governing elite; corruption (in its multiple dimensions); and the widening scope of insecurity in the land.”
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